Pubdate: Sun, 03 Apr 2016
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2016 The Washington Post Company
Author: John Woodrow Cox


The mass of protesters gathered outside the White House couldn't 
quite wait for 4:20 Saturday afternoon, the pre-planned time they had 
designated to light their marijuana-packed joints and pipes in 
protest of the federal laws that prohibit the drug's consumption.

Just past 4: 17, plumes of smoke arose from the crowd of more than 
100 people, which was surrounded by officers from the U. S. Park 
Police, Metropolitan Police and the Secret Service. Still, because 
the activists remained on the street - owned by the District, which 
has legalized pot possession- and off the sidewalks-owned by the 
federal government, which has not - no one was arrested. Just two 
people were given citations and $25 fines for public consumption. A 
man who knew the pair said they were confronted by police only after 
a member of their group accidentally blew smoke in an officer's face.

The protest's centerpiece was a giant balloon created to look like a 
marijuana joint. Initially the protesters carried the 51-foot tube to 
the corner of 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, but Secret 
Service agents refused to let them bring the object to the White 
House while it remained inflated. The activists deflated it, brought 
it over on a cart and, shortly after 4 p.m., inflated it again, 
defying law enforcement's orders.

The officers remained calm, however, and quickly maneuvered those 
carrying the balloon north through Lafayette Square and onto the 
sidewalk along H Street NW.

Adam Eidinger, the protest's organizer, has said that President Obama 
must work harder to remove marijuana from the list of Schedule 1 
controlled substances, which includes heroin and ecstasy.

Eidinger described the smoke-in as the most aggressive way he could 
think of to draw attention to the roughly 5 million marijuana-related 
arrests since Obama took office, though it seemed clear Saturday that 
he and the other activists were careful to not smoke on federal land, 
where their chances of increasing the number of marijuana-related 
arrests would have been much higher.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom